Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Despite international media speculation (e.g.Energy Bulletin snips Sydney Herald) and pressure to act on mandatory GHG caps from the British, media, large corporations, and environmentalists,(Climate Action Partnership calls for action ), the White House continues to deny reports that Bush will reverse course in the State of the Union address. BBC and others report that Bush instead will propose more federal research money, stress ethanol use, and seek to enlarge the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to achieve "energy security." How disappointing -- Bush could steal the thunder from Democrats on this issue just as his health care proposal does.
The Democrats will have a golden opportunity to respond on Wednesday and Thursday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will give the plenary address on Wednesday morning and the U.S. Mayors Council on Climate Protection will have a special plenary session on Thursday morning(with Greg Nickels of Seattle, Doug Palmer USCOM President, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sen. Ed Markey, and the producer of An Inconvenient Truth). The CEQ chair's speech on the administration's environmental priorities has been consigned to a concurrent session committee meeting early Thursday morning.
Mr Bush will ask Congress for $1.6bn over the decade to fund research into alternative energy and $2bn in loans for cellulosic ethanol plants.
But there are no indications that he will impose specific limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
This will dismay not just Democrats, but some Republican-supporting industrialists who want Mr Bush to adopt a comprehensive strategy for tackling climate change, the BBC's Iain Watson in Washington says.
Mr Bush will also call for a strengthening of America's energy security - doubling its Strategic Petroleum Reserve by 2027.
The SPR is an emergency petroleum store with the current capacity to hold up to 727 million barrels of crude oil.
"For too long our nation has been dependent on foreign oil," the president will say.
"And this dependence leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes, and to terrorists - who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments ... raise the price of oil ... and do great harm to our economy."